ATLANTA (AP) – Georgian Republican Doug Collins, a favorite of former President Donald Trump, says he has no plans to run for governor or the U.S. Senate in 2022.
The former Congressman’s announcement on Monday made it less likely that there will be a major antagonist for Governor Brian Kemp, a frequent target of Trump’s wrath after the Governor helped confirm President Joe Biden’s victory in November.
The Republicans also have no obvious heavyweight against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who won a runoff campaign against the then Senator in January. Kelly Loeffler and is aiming for a full-time position next year. Collins finished third in the first round and missed the runoff.
The victories of Warnock and his colleague Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff put the Democrats in control of the Senate, and the 2022 competition will once again help set the chamber’s balance for the last two years of Biden’s tenure.
Collins didn’t rule out a future national run, describing his decision as “goodbye, but probably not forever”. He said he would continue to “shape our conservative message to help Republicans win back the House and Senate.”
Chip Lake, Collins’ top political advisor, said Collins told him in one-on-one meetings on Sunday night and again on Monday that for a nationwide race a candidate “has to give 110% and he is unable to get it.” Year 2022.
Several Republicans, including US Reps Buddy Carter and Drew Ferguson, and former soccer star Herschel Walker, are looking for the seat. But no one would enter the 2022 competition with the political profile that Collins would like to be one of Trump’s toughest defenders during the 2019 impeachment process -20 against the former president.
Lake confirmed that Collins and Trump have spoken regularly since the president stepped down in January, though he said it was unclear how hard Trump was trying to convince Collins to campaign in 2022.
Collins’ alliance with Trump was not enough in last November’s all-party election, in which Loeffler ran as Republican against 19 other candidates. But Trump’s support would have made him a favorite in an open Senate Republican primary, and it could have made him a legitimate threat in a major bid against Kemp.
After Collins accepts a passport, the question remains of how strong Trump will be in Georgia in 2022, even if the former president and his vocal supporters intend to cement their hold on the GOP as the party adapts to Georgia’s newfound battlefield status adapts. Biden won the state with around 12,000 votes out of 5 million votes cast.
A Trump aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump put pressure on Kemp to appoint Collins to replace Senator Johnny Isakson in early 2020. Instead, Kemp tipped off Loeffler, an incredibly wealthy Atlanta businesswoman who viewed Trump supporters with suspicion, no matter how eagerly she hugged the president.
These tensions escalated in the Senate runoff when Trump falsely claimed that Biden’s victory in Georgia was fraudulent and that Republicans in Georgia did not do enough to help him overcome it. Competing GOP camps blame the momentum for their 2020 defeats. Trump supporters argue that enough President Loeffler and Senator David Perdue have left to ensure their losses. More established Republicans argue that Trump’s false narratives about the elections drove more moderate Republicans and independents, particularly in Metro Atlanta, to the Democratic column.
Kemp has since been censored by several county republican parties, suggesting he faces the same difficult balance between the GOP’s right flank and the more moderate center. Still, the incumbent governor’s staunch support on behalf of the major election bill he signed has helped to improve his standing with some Republicans who felt they had not done enough to question Biden’s victory in Georgia.
So far, Kemp’s main antagonist has been a former Democratic State representative Vernon Jones, who backed Trump last year.
The Warnock campaign recently said the Senator raised $ 5.7 million between the January 5 runoff and March 31st, giving him a significant lead over potential Republican challengers.
“I think the window of opportunity for … anyone else who wants to join is closing,” said Republican Martha Zoller, a former congressional candidate and former advisor to Perdue and Kemp. “It’s a money thing.”
Lake acknowledged that “we face challenges as a party,” but argued that the momentum of the mid-term elections favors Republicans as the Democrats must be responsible for their unified control of Washington in a state he said ” is still center-right “.
“The 2020 election was all about Donald Trump,” he said. “But now it’s about National Democrats in 2022. It’s a one-size-fits-all deal for us. “